Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quote #149: on the value of the study of history

"The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false."

-  Paul JohnsonThe Quotable Paul Johnson: A Topical Compilation of His Wit, Wisdom and Satire, edited by George J. Marlin, et al (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994), p. 138. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Quote #148: the benefits of a good wife

Happy is the husband of a good wife; the number of his days will be doubled.  A loyal wife rejoices her husband, and he will complete his years in peace.  A good wife is a great blessing; she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.  Whether rich or poor, his heart is glad, and at all times his face is cheerful.
- Sirach 26:1-4 (Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition).

Quote #147: Jefferson on the Enlightenment

[O]n the eighteen century.  It certainly witnessed the sciences and arts, manners and morals, advanced to a higher degree than the world had ever before seen.  And might we not go back to the ear of the Borgias, by which time the barbarous ages had reduced national morality to its lowest point of depravity, and observe that the arts and sciences, rising from that point, advanced gradually through all the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteen centuries, softening and correcting the manners and morals of man?  I think, too, we may add to the great honor for science and the arts, that their natural effect is, by illuminating public opinion, to erect it into a sensor, before which the most exalted tremble for their future, as well as present fame.
- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams dated January 11, 1816, taken from In God We Trust:  The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the American Founding Fathers, ed. by Norman Cousins (Harper & Bros.:  1958), pg. 266.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quote #146: true and false equality

"The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation." 

- Russell Kirk (1918-1994), American writer and conservative theorist.

St. Augustine (by Sandro Botticelli)

St. Ignatius Loyola (by Francisco Zurbaran)

Benjamin Rush (by Charles Willson Peale)

Patrick Henry at the Virginia House of Burgesses (by Henry Rothermel)

Edmund Burke (by Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Samuel Adams (by John Singleton Copley)

Alexander Hamilton (by John Trumbull)